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Does Vitamin C really matter?

19.12.20

Winter 2020 is definitely here – the rain’s now reminding me of last winter, which in living memory was the wettest I think I’ve known it.

For us humans, it’s cold and flu season, not to mention we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. At this time of year we hear a whole lot about the powers of vitamin C, and for our horses, switching from a fresh-grass to mainly-hay diet means they’re completely losing their vitamin C source, so here are the top 3 reasons why vitamin C is indeed a superstar, and especially important this time of year, not only for our horses but for us too.

  1. It’s one heck of an antioxidant, protecting us all from oxidative damage. We’re bombarded with cellular stressors every day, from toxins in the air, food and water, to chronic stress and poor sleep … the list goes on. If you’ve read our ‘Micronutrients & The Mitochondria’ page in our CARE Immunity Programme section, you’ll know that unchecked oxidative damage leads to inflammation deep down at cellular level, inhibiting immune strength and putting the body at risk for chronic disease. Antioxidant vit.C protects critical molecules in the body from oxidative damage, safeguarding proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and DNA, so the body stays resilient. This antioxidant power is one of the reasons vit.C impacts everything from immunity to heart health, skin health, cognition, hormones, and so much more.
  2. It’s an awesome immunity protector! Seriously. Neutrophils are immune cells that help our bodies overcome pathogens, and they contain 50-times more vit.C than blood plasma. Vit.C also helps boost the production of other white blood cells, like lymphocytes - our immune system killer-army - that work around the clock to protect the body from infection. Tons of research and studies prove that when taken proactively, vit.C can reduce the severity and duration of colds.
  3. It’s also an invaluable lung protector. A quick science-alert but I promise I'll be brief. There are two types of immune system – the ‘innate’ and the ‘adaptive’. The innate immune system is a first-line-defence presence against invading pathogens; it’s essentially a physical barrier to keep viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other foreign invaders out of the body, or at the very least limit their ability to spread and move around the body. Adaptive immunity sits on the sidelines and leaps into action when it’s needed – it’s created in response to exposure of a foreign invader to memorise it for the future, and once activated against a specific type of antigen (a toxin/pathogen that triggers an immune response), the immunity remains throughout life, having developed a unique and specific immune response for each pathogen. Clever stuff! So where does vit.C come in? It helps regulate the innate immune system, making sure that barrier stays strong and effective. Studies show it can reduce the risk of pneumonia in people who are deficient. We've also seen it can ease the symptoms of acute respiratory infections. And when it comes to COVID, this virus triggers a serious inflammatory cytokine storm and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS); though much more research is needed in this area, one very small study showed that 90% of COVID patients with ARDS had undetectable levels of vitamin C.

With COVID on our doorsteps, we're all aware of our health more crucially than ever before, and vit.C can play a hugely beneficial part in supporting us. It's an essential nutrient, meaning we need to get it from either diet or supplementation, in order to boost our - and our horses' – natural defences.

There are many amazing plant sources of vitamin C to keep it natural. For our horses, our EquiVita-Plus, ProBPlus & Ultra ranges includes a daily 10g of ground rosehips, plus you can up this by adding extra rosehips, either shells or ground, from our Individual Herbs shop page – we’ve known of an immune-deficient horse badly affected with sarcoids consume 8kg of rosehip shells in one sitting!

For us humans, hop onto our sister BotanicalYou site, into our Vitality Superblends page and check out our Vita-C, an organic blend jam-packed with four of the highest vit.C-yielding fruits out there. It’s super-fruit and super-tart – I add a heaped tablespoon, sometimes two, into my daily porridge oats breakfast. Be warned - you may need a dash of honey 😉